Special Report

America's Most Expensive TV Shows

5. The Simpsons
> 30-second spot price: $256,963
> Network: FOX
> Weekly viewers: 6.8 million (52nd highest)
> Seasons on air: 25
> Time slot: 8:00-8:30 p.m., Sunday

“The Simpsons,” now entering its 25th season, has been on the air longer than any other scripted show in television history. “The Simpsons” has garnered a number of other superlatives and awards since its creation, including 27 Emmys. Even after a quarter of a century, the show still draws nearly 4 million 18 to 49 year olds per week — the most targeted age group for advertisers. According to Gary Newman, chairman and CEO of 20th Century FOX TV, “Simpsons” reruns likely will be shopped for syndication for the first time.

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4. Modern Family
> 30-second spot price: $257,435
> Network: ABC
> Weekly viewers: 12.6 million (13th highest)
> Seasons on air: five
> Time slot: 9:00-9:30 p.m., Wednesday

This mockumentary-style show has received an Emmy for best comedy every year since it first aired in 2009. The success has led “Modern Family” to an off-network syndication, for which it underwent a bidding war before it was finally acquired by USA Network for $1.4 million an episode. According to data released earlier this month, “Modern Family” on USA debuted as the most popular syndicated program among women. With more than 12 million people already watching “Modern Family” each week on average, USA’s nine-hour weekly showing will likely increase the program’s total audience.

3. The Voice (both Monday and Tuesday)
> 30-second spot price: $264,575/$229,167
> Network: NBC
> Weekly viewers: 15.4 million (5th highest) / 13.8 million (8th highest)
> Seasons on air: five
> Time slot: 8:00-10:00 p.m., Monday, 9:00-10:00 p.m., Tuesday

“The Voice” airs on Mondays and Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., respectively. Both time slots command 30-second ad spots worth well over $200,000 each. “The Voice” was brought to the U.S. from the franchise’s home in the Netherlands, when NBC bought it for $2 million an episode. According to John de Mol, the creator of the show and a number of other successful programs, he chose NBC as the recipient because the network was “in bad shape,” and he thought they would do best by it. Weekly views so far this season for both time slots are among the highest on network television. Apart from “Sunday Night Football,” “The Voice” is NBC’s biggest prime time draw.

2. The Big Bang Theory
> 30-second spot price: $326,260
> Network: CBS
> Weekly viewers: 20.0 million (3rd highest)
> Seasons on air: seven
> Time slot: 8:00-8:30 p.m., Thursday

Chuck Lorre’s comedy “The Big Bang Theory” is seven seasons old. This season, a 30-second ad spot cost $326,260, considerably less than NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” but well more than any other prime time show. Based on data on the current television season, “The Big Bang Theory” is one of only three programs that draw more than 20 million viewers per week, after “NCIS” and “Sunday Night Football.” The show’s success has been attributed in part to the scriptwriters’ blend of comedy and academia.

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1. NBC Sunday Night Football
> 30-second spot price: $570,000
> Network: NBC
> Weekly viewers: 21.3 million (the highest)
> Seasons on air: eight
> Time slot: starts 8:30 p.m., Sunday

The National Football League commands the highest unit cost for advertising of any TV franchise. “Sunday Night Football” is no exception, attracting far more viewers and much better ratings than other prime time network television programs. More than 10 million people between ages 18 and 49 watch the broadcast. The next highest view-count for this age category is less than 8 million. NBC’s audience surged this past weekend when “Sunday Night Football” drew the best prime time rating in 15 years, due in part to Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis.